River Steward Internship Announcement for Summer 2016

The Farmington River Watershed Association (FRWA) is now accepting applications for its Summer 2016 River Steward internships. Two FRWA River Steward interns will work in the field, laboratory, and office on a variety of projects, including water quality sampling and analysis, assessments of aquatic animal passage at road-stream crossings, outreach, and special grant-funded projects.  PDF copy of internship announcement here.

Background. The Farmington River is one of the most popular recreational rivers in Connecticut, with world-class trout fishing and whitewater paddling reaches, plus flatwater stretches and riverside trails. It has small scale hydropower, and provides very high quality drinking water for over 450,000 people in greater Hartford. Though intensively managed, it still faces serious challenges to its water quality and aquatic life. FRWA) is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1953 and dedicated to preserving, protecting, and restoring the Farmington River and its watershed. (see www.frwa.org.) Internships at FRWA provide broad experience in watershed management, planning, and public education, and how agencies and organizations balance the many demands made on this natural resource.

Overview. River Steward internships are based in FRWA’s office in Simsbury, CT, and the work focuses on the lower mainstem of the Farmington and its tributaries in Canton, Farmington, Avon, Simsbury, Granby, East Granby, and Windsor. The total time commitment is 280 hours, to be spent in 30- to 35-hour work weeks from June to August.

Interns work with all the staff at FRWA and have responsibilities typical for entry-level professional positions in watershed associations. Most work is on weekdays but early morning, evening, or weekend hours are sometimes required. Indoor work is expected to be done in the FRWA office rather than off-site, to allow interaction with team members and staff. Interns will participate in the following projects:

Water quality monitoring. FRWA provides water quality data to the CT DEEP, where it may be used in the state’s reports to the US EPA in compliance with the Clean Water Act. Data collection and analysis is therefore held to a high standard. Monitoring is ongoing throughout the season and requires participation from at least one intern every Monday and Tuesday. It includes training; collecting water samples from watershed streams and rivers; laboratory preparation and analysis of samples for bacteria, data quality assurance and entry. Other monitoring tasks may include placing temperature data loggers, choosing additional sampling sites, and field collection of benthic macroinvertebrates.

Stream crossing assessments. Interns will work with FRWA staff to evaluate road-stream crossings (culverts and bridges) in the lower Farmington River for their ability to allow passage of aquatic animals. The process can also identify crossings vulnerable to failure in extreme storm events. We use the protocol of the North Atlantic Aquatic Continuity Collaborative (NAACC), which is used by agencies and organizations throughout the Northeast. Data are uploaded to a regional database maintained by the UMass Extension Service, where the information is available for viewing and analysis. Interns undergo mandatory training and testing in the protocol; obtain and record data at field sites; and assist with reviewing and uploading data.

Public education and outreach. This involves both face-to-face interaction with recreational users on the river to encourage safe practices and good river etiquette, and maintaining an online presence for FRWA on our website and in social media. FRWA interns will work with FRWA staff and with the volunteer members of the Lower Farmington River Coordinating Committee to organize and implement selected outreach tasks.

Special Project Assistance. Interns can assist as needed with current grant-funded projects or advocacy efforts that are ongoing in summer 2016. These may include, but are not limited to:
• Research tasks related to the development of a statewide water plan;
• Construction of a stormwater bioswale on the campus of Northwestern CT Community College;
• Developing an EPA-approved watershed-based plan for the Pequabuck River.
Qualifications. The ideal candidate is an advanced undergraduate or recent graduate, highly motivated to pursue environmental management, restoration, or advocacy as a profession. Coursework in environmental science and experience in field work and data collection are strongly preferred. A can-do attitude, imagination, interest in learning, flexible response to circumstances, “people skills,” and good humor are important.

Job Requirements. Interns are expected to:
• Have their own reliable transportation at all times;
• Commit and adjust to a weekly schedule that varies with weather and task;
• Climb up and down steep banks and wade in rocky streams;
• Paddle a canoe or kayak in flatwater or mild current (Class 1-2);
• Work 6-8 hours outdoors in variable weather;
• Cope with poison ivy, thorns, ticks, insects, and wildlife;
• Have excellent written and verbal communication skills;
• Work well on a team or independently;
• Represent FRWA in a friendly and professional manner;
• Be diligent about details when analyzing, recording, and uploading data;
• Be familiar with (or quickly learn) basics of GIS software, Google Earth, Google Maps, and using GPS units;
• Be good organizers;
• Be communicative and accountable to staff, with “deliverables” that are complete and timely.

Compensation. Each position comes with a stipend of $2,800. Travel to field sites will be compensated at $0.54 per mile. Housing is not provided. Positions are contingent on funding, which is pending at the time of announcement (Feb. 1).

To apply, send a cover letter, resume, two professional references, and two writing samples to: Eileen Fielding, FRWA, 749 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury, CT 06070 or efielding@frwa.org

Deadline. Submission before March 15 is highly recommended. Applications will be accepted until positions are filled. Hiring decisions are anticipated in April or early May.

Volunteers Needed: Annual Farmington River Clean-up, September 26, 10am – 2pm

Our 28th Annual Farmington River Clean-up is set for Saturday, September 26th, from 10:00am to 2:00pm.

The Clean-up is a great community event designed to get people and groups of all ages involved in cleaning up litter along the banks of the Farmington River and its tributaries. Several meeting sites will be actively cleaning the banks of the River in Avon, Barkhamsted, Bloomfield, Burlington, Canton, Farmington, Granby, Simsbury and Windsor. Garbage bags and gloves are provided to all participants, through generous donations from local businesses and stores.

After the Clean-up, volunteers are invited to FRWA’s headquarters for a family picnic where refreshments, sandwiches and pizza will be served. FRWA’s office is located at 749 Hopmeadow Street in Simsbury, CT.

For more information on how you can help with the Farmington River Clean-up and to register for a specific site, please call FRWA at (860)-658-4442, extension 0 or email apetras@frwa.org.

River Safety: Show Your River Sense…

Now that summer’s here, the river beckons—but be safe! If you are boating or tubing, wear a life jacket. Go with someone else rather than boating alone. Let someone know of your plans. If you are separated from your companions, get back to them as soon as possible to let them know your whereabouts. And while you’re out there, make the river safer for people and wildlife—leave no glass, no trash, no fishing line or hooks.

For more river safety tips visit FRWA’s River Safety Page.

Join Us: FRWA Annual Meeting, November 18, 2014

You are invited to Farmington River Watershed Association’s Annual Meeting

Tuesday, November 18, 2014, 6:30 – 9:00 pm
Belle Terrace at Avon Old Farms, 1 Nod Road, Avon, CT 06001

Join us for “It All Happened on the Farmington River: A Story of Historic Sites, Fish, Factories, Floods & Flows.”
Presented by Eileen Fielding, FRWA Executive Director

Light Refreshments & Desserts, 6:30pm; Program at 7:00 pm
Tickets $25, RSVP below or via check by November 15. Cash Bar.

FRCC 20th Anniversary Picnic

Enjoy Your River on a Midsummer Afternoon

FRCC 20th Anniversary Picnic—Saturday June 22, 2014 from 1-5 pm

Treat yourself and the family to a day at the river! This June, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Farmington West Branch becoming a national Wild & Scenic River. There will be festivities for all, including;

guided tours and walks,

games for kids,

boating and fishing demonstrations,

stories from the past,

wildlife exhibits from CT DEEP,

streambug searches,

live music by Travelin’ Trout Band, and

good food!

This free event, sponsored by the Farmington River Coordinating Committee, is on Sunday, June 22, 2014 (Rain or Shine!) from 1:00—5:00 pm at Peoples State Forest, East River Road, in Barkhamsted. Come on by!


FRWA Hosts Event as Part of World Fish Migration Day

Spoonville Dam Site Open House 50 Tunxis Ave., East Granby, 10 AM to Noon

In 2012, the removal of Spoonville Dam, a large structure on the Farmington River, restored a historic fishing site on a major migration route for American shad and many other species.   The removal also enhanced a world-class whitewater run in Tariffville Gorge. On May 24, which is World Fish Migration Day, you can visit the former dam site to learn more about the site’s archaeological history, its role in industry and early hydropower development, the disastrous Flood of 1955 that ruined the dam, and the ultimate dam removal and river restoration project. You can walk the site to see remnants of the hydro installation and compare them to historic photos. Who knows, we may even see shad coming upriver!

This free open house lasts from 10 AM to noon on May 24 and the meeting site is near 50 Tunxis Ave., East Granby.   It will be led by Eileen Fielding, executive director of the Farmington River Watershed Association and coordinator of the dam removal. The event is entirely outdoors; please dress for the weather and wear shoes for walking on uneven ground.  For more info about World Fish Migration Day activities, visit the World Fish Migration Day website.

Tariffville Triple Crown – April 12 & 13, 2014

FRWA and the Lower Farmington River & Salmon Brook Wild and Scenic Committee are proud to sponsor the Tariffville Whitewater Triple Crown.

Whitewater Triple Crown Contest Schedule
About the contest:  The Whitewater Triple Crown competition challenges paddlers in three major whitewater disciplines. Wild water racing is about speed, fastest boat down the river wins. Slalom requires precision. The paddlers must negotiate a series of gates for the fastest time. Penalties are assessed for touching the gate poles or missing the gate entirely. Each boat gets two runs. The better run determines their result. Freestyle is an acrobatic contest of spins, cartwheels and flips in whitewater. Incredible balance and reflexes prevail as paddlers are judged for their tricks. The competitions include Men’s, Women’s, and Junior classes, as well as classes for kayak and one and two-paddler canoes (C-1 and C-2). For the Triple Crown, the paddlers score points based on their place in each event. Both the Top Ten Men and Top Ten Women from Saturday move on to the Sunday Finals. The Men’s and Women’s Champions will be awarded $1000.


Saville Dam and Old Barkhamsted Hollow Tour, October 26th, 10am-3pm

Join us for a tour deep inside the bowels of the Saville Dam followed by a trek to some of the old Barkhamsted foundations spared inundation as the Barkhamsted Reservoir filled. We plan to end our tour with a visit to the relocated old Barkhamsted Center schoolhouse. The history and preservation of our watershed is intertwined with the story of the Metropolitan District and the pursuit of clean drinking water for Greater Hartford.

The MDC will guide us through the earthen embankment dam that impounds the 30 billion gallon Barkhamsted reservoir providing drinking water for Greater Hartford. Erik Landgraf  will lead us around the relics of old Barkhamsted Hollow, a village mostly flooded by the creation of the Barkhamsted Reservoir in 1940. Structures that were not flooded were torn down or moved by the water company, but not without a trace. Trace history in your watershed!
Pre-registration is required, space is limited, contact FRWA at (860) 658-4442, or email: river@frwa.org to register; Tour begins at 10:00 am, dress for the weather, wear footwear to walk in the woods, pack a lunch and water. Fee: current FRWA members $5; non-members $10.

FRWA Aquatic Insect Sampling (RBV) Workshop, October 12th, 9am-2pm

FRWA will hold our 10th Annual Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Sampling (RBV) Workshop on Saturday October 12th at Squires Tavern in Peoples State Forest. Volunteers are needed to help sample for aquatic insects as indicators of water quality. Explore the fascinating life of local streams throughout the Farmington River Watershed!
We begin with an indoor workshop to demonstrate collection and identification techniques and explain the use of aquatic organisms in water quality monitoring. Following the indoor training and lunch, teams will move out to sample various Farmington River Watershed streams. Participants wade into the water, collect organisms into a net, sort and identify and preserve a representative sample for verification. The program follows CT DEEP Rapid Biomonitoring for Volunteers (RBV) protocol and results help FRWA and the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) monitor water quality changes in the Farmington River Watershed.
No previous experience necessary, new volunteers are paired with an experienced team leader and older children are welcome with an adult. Lunch will be provided, bring footwear to wade into the water (waders, water shoes or old sneakers).
Program will be held rain or shine; please dress for the weather. Space is limited, advance registration is required. Please contact FRWA at 860-658-4442 or email river@frwa.org to register.
Experienced samplers please contact FRWA to borrow equipment to sample your favorite riffle.

Stream Bugs & Pond Critters, September 21st, 10am-noon

Discover the fascinating underwater life of the Farmington River Watershed with FRWA as we explore Walton Pond and Poplar Swamp Brook at beautiful Winding Trails in Farmington. Spend the morning pond-side and wading in the brook to observe, identify, and marvel at the life histories and ecology of insects and other creatures that inhabit still and flowing waters. Learn how and why we use aquatic insects in our watershed-wide water quality monitoring.

We will provide nets, buckets and expertise; you need only bring your curious mind. We meet at Nature’s Porch; Winding Trails’ beautiful, brand new, certified Connecticut grown building and will go outdoors rain or shine. Please dress for the weather and wear appropriate footwear to wade into shallow water (water shoes, old sneakers, or waders.)

This program is open to all ages but children must be accompanied by an adult. Advance registration is required. Please contact FRWA at 860-658-4442 or email river@frwa.org to register.